Grandparents Day

One of Bethel’s most active clubs, Student Alumni Association (SAA), puts on a Grandparents Day open to any grandparents of students. Students provide SAA with the addresses of grandparents and SAA sends out invitations. Grandparents come from all across the area and even from out of state to spend the day learning about what their grandchildren do.

After registering in the morning, grandparents are treated to a sampler of student performances. Then they join their grandchildren for convocation, lunch and possibly afternoon classes.

My grandparents are unusual in the fact that all four of their grandchildren go to Bethel. As an added bonus they are also Bethel grads themselves and huge fans of everything Bethel.

Grandparents day is an important way for students to connect with their grandparents and for grandparents to learn about the college.

Fall Fest…a little late

So like Justin said, we’re all probably writing about Fall Fest. That’s just how big it is. I’m making mine unique by doing it a week and a half after.

Fall Festival is one giant fundraiser. Have a club that needs funds to have movie nights? Make some sort of food and sell it. That’s the easiest way to describe what happens on campus. It begins on Thursday with the Taste of Newton in downtown Newton. The Taste of Newton has the same fundraise-through-food concept as Saturday’s on-campus event, but it’s with the wider Newton community groups. On Friday afternoon classes are cancelled, presumably so students can prepare for the next day.

I spent my free afternoon going to lectures. This was the fifth year of the STEM symposium, a celebration of science, technology, engineering and math. At Bethel, the STEM departments are Math, Biology, Chemisty and Psychology. The STEM symposium rotates through each department. This year was Math, so as a math major I was really excited. Important alumni from the math department came back to give guest lectures and have a career panel for students.

Turns out I wasn’t interested in any of the careers they have, but they still had some great insight about how to choose a career. One of the main things they focused on is that math majors from Bethel have gone on to a wide variety of career and graduate school choices. That didn’t help me in narrowing down what I want to do with my life, but at least I know that it really is my choice.

A lesson about opportunity

I’m sure the other bloggers will be posting about their Fall Fest experience. And if they’re not, they should be. So I won’t repeat what they’re sure to include. However, I would like to muse about a lesson I learned during this year’s festivities.

Though this was my third Fall Fest, it was just my first time to have the pleasure of “working” the KBCU (radio station) booth. I call it “work”, however, it was nothing of the sort. I got the rundown earlier in the week of what was expected during my one hour shift. Play music, talk to passersby, hand out free stuff. Easy. Read More

Fall Fest!!!


One of the most anticipated events on campus occurred earlier today. Beginning on Friday afternoon, Bethel College invites community members to campus to hear speakers, listen to musical groups, walk through student-created booths, play games, and eat food. The main day of Fall Fest is Saturday, and beginning earlier than 8 am, students, staff, faculty and community members were setting up booths and selling food and handicrafts.

I began my day at the Students for Social Change booth, where my friend Emilie and I gathered signatures for a petition involving the recent Palestinian bid to the UN for statehood. In the same booth, other students sold arroz con leche (rice with milk, raisins and cinnamon) and distributed information regarding the School of the Americas. Other booths sold newspaper subscriptions, held contests to win prizes, sold cookies and verenike, held a Free Sale, and offered tie-dying.

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Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti!

This past weekend, a group of Bethel students had the opportunity to attend the Pascha (Easter) service at St. George’s Orthodox Christian Cathedral. St. George’s is part of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, which includes Russian, Greek, Armenian, Antiochan, and several other Orthodox churches. The service began at 11pm and concluded at about 2am and was a marathon of liturgy, standing up, and incense.

It began with the choir singing an opening hymn after which all the lights were shut off and the bishop began chanting liturgy. He then lit a candle from the candelabra at the front of the church and passed it to the priests and friars, who went down the aisle and lit the candles of the parishioners. It was really beautiful, getting to watch the church slowly light up and being able to see the elaborate paintings on the ceiling and walls.

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The Kansas MCC Sale


This past weekend was the Kansas MCC Sale. For those non-Mennonites among the readers, it’s a chance to go to Hutchinson, eat a LOT of really good food, visit booths with lots of interesting things for sale (anything from bad trucker hats to furniture to jewelry to old fabric remnants to more food), go to three different auctions (general, quilts, children’s), slide down a GIANT SLIDE and mostly just eat a lot of food and hang out for a morning. At least half of the Bethel campus makes the trek over the weekend, and so there’s ample opportunity to spend time with friends, walk around, get sunburnt, and of course, eat a LOT of really good food (sense a theme here? Mennonites are all about the food). The proceeds from everything purchased at the sale goes to the Mennonite Central Committee, which is a faith-based aid organization with branches all over the world, so we can indulge in a bit of guilt-free spending, knowing that it will go to a good cause.

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Christmas at Bethel


The Christmas season at Bethel is my favorite time of the year. Not only are the students oh-so-close to finishing out the semester, but there are lots of time-honored BC traditions to experience. This past Friday was the Messiah Sing, which is the final (and my personal favorite) convocation of the year. Once again, my penchant for singing in community reveals my bias, for the Messiah Sing is just that – singing Handel’s Messiah in Bethel College Mennonite Church. The BC band and orchestra plays, several of the very best Concert Choir singers perform arias and recitatives, and the audience (segregated into soprano, alto, tenor, bass) sings the rest. It is a beautiful thing, hearing the voices and instruments weave seamlessly together. And when the final “Hallelujah” reverberates around the church, I can’t help feeling a bit sad that I shall have to wait 364 days to hear that moment again. Read More

Christmas Gala

The Christmas Gala was so delightful. It was full of students from the community dressed in their formal gowns and tuxedos. The administration served the students their evening meal and sang Christmas carols during the meal. Students were so excited to see one another in their formal dress. Many pictures were taken with the Bethel snowman and the lit Christmas trees all around campus.President at the gayla

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From Grouchy to God

Stress, stress and more stress. That is where I found myself this past week, not to mention the week before. I was constantly complaining about all the work to be done for my classes and the jobs I hold here on campus. Ask my roommate, and I’m sure she could tell you that I was downright grouchy! Amongst my exceedingly full schedule I somehow found myself sleeping at 10:00 am last Wednesday morning. That next hour at 11:00 am, Bethel has scheduled a time for Chapel lead by our campus pastor Dale Schrag. Although all students are encouraged to attend, no one is required to fill up that hour of your week at a church based service. Read More

Deutsche Weihnachten

Today we had our first practice for Deutsche Weihnachten. This is a pretty cool event, unlike anything else anywhere (except for Germany, they have them all over the place). Basically, It’s a church service entirely in German. The scripture readings are in German, the songs are in German, even the sermon is German (to be delivered this year by Austin McCabe-Juhnke). Read More